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Room 6 at the Moonstone

Adam Mars-Jones: Bill Clegg, 5 November 2015

Did You Ever Have a Family 
by Bill Clegg.
Cape, 293 pp., £12.99, August 2015, 978 0 224 10235 3
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... Bill Clegg​ ’s novel starts with a bang, when an explosion destroys a house in a small Connecticut town and kills four people just before a wedding. The casualties are the bride and groom, the bride’s father and Luke, the young boyfriend of the bride’s mother – who had been a scandalous match for glamorous June in the eyes of the town, and not just by reason of his youth ...

On the Coalition

LRB Contributors, 10 June 2010

... Ali Within a year or two we will remember the engagement interviews featuring Messrs Cameron and Clegg with the same fond disbelief that we now remember the wedding interviews with Charles and Diana. Or so my husband predicts. The real difference between then and now is that, in the present case, both the parties have old flames they won’t be able to ...

At the Crossroads

Bruce Ackerman: Electoral Reform, 9 September 2010

... the country’s political destiny. But the new proposal for electoral reform, championed by Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, marks a turning point. It could well represent the death knell of parliamentary sovereignty. While the granting of quasi- and semi-sovereign powers to rival power centres might threaten the functional supremacy of the ...

Call that a coalition?

Ross McKibbin, 5 April 2012

... of compromise and sacrifice. They came into the negotiations all too ready to make concessions. Clegg’s willingness to believe the best of the Tories, for instance, led him to accept the bargain by which the Tories secured the redistribution of parliamentary constituencies as part of the government’s programme, while the Lib Dems merely ‘won’ the ...

Still Dithering

Norman Dombey: After Trident, 16 December 2010

... MPs that ‘the government had decided in principle to renew Trident.’ A few days later, Nick Clegg told the conference that he opposed ‘a like-for-like Trident replacement’ and suggested that ‘the money would be better spent on frontline military operations.’ Clegg described Trident as a Cold War weapon, and ...

A Revision of Expectations

Richard Horton: Notes on the NHS, 2 July 1998

The National Health Service: A Political History 
by Charles Webster.
Oxford, 233 pp., £9.99, April 1998, 0 19 289296 7
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... doctors, and – most troublesome of all – win the backing of a sceptical Cabinet. The NHS Bill received Royal Assent on 6 November 1946. The doctors, outraged at Bevan’s proposals, channelled their opposition through a profoundly reactionary BMA. Webster’s account of all this is sketchy, perhaps because he has covered the ground in previous ...

His Fucking Referendum

David Runciman: What Struck Cameron, 10 October 2019

For the Record 
by David Cameron.
William Collins, 732 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 0 00 823928 2
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... was the pledge delivered by the three main Westminster party leaders – Cameron, Miliband and Clegg – to devolve more powers to Holyrood in the event of a ‘No’ vote and to wrap this up in a generous offer of future funding. Until that point, the focus of the ‘No’ campaign had been on the risks of independence. The message was: don’t chance ...

Too Few to Mention

David Runciman: It Has to Happen, 10 May 2018

How to Stop Brexit (and Make Britain Great Again) 
by Nick Clegg.
Bodley Head, 160 pp., £8.99, October 2017, 978 1 84792 523 7
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... for Brexit, any more than it was to vote for Blair. It was a case of being misled. We were sold a bill of goods. In How to Stop Brexit, Nick Clegg puts his money on anger rather than regret. ‘There’s a fairly simple rule in politics,’ he writes. ‘If you make a promise and then fail to deliver it, you should be held ...

Coalition Monsters

Colin Kidd, 6 March 2014

In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... new government, which itself imploded in the spring of 1783. As in 2010, when the Cameron-Clegg coalition was formed, it was the arithmetic in the House of Commons that largely dictated the options available. In 1783, Fox had 90 followers, Lord North 120 and Lord Shelburne 140, with a walk-on cast of unaligned backwoodsmen among the rest of the 558 ...

The Mess They’re In

Ross McKibbin: Labour’s Limited Options, 20 October 2011

... Hughes, and various spokespeople, and who often act as though the coalition doesn’t exist. Nick Clegg has been an ineffective leader: he made a mess of the negotiations that led to the formation of the coalition, and a mess of the AV referendum (from which, however, he has ‘moved on’ with great speed); he saw no difficulty with Andrew Lansley’s health ...

In Defence of Rights

Philippe Sands and Helena Kennedy, 3 January 2013

... We were appointed to the Commission on a Bill of Rights in March 2011 by Nick Clegg. The circumstances were not auspicious, and we were concerned from the outset that our composition – all white, almost all male, almost all lawyers and London-based – would undermine our ability to speak with any legitimacy ...

They don’t even need ideas

William Davies: Take Nigel Farage ..., 20 June 2019

... which Gerbaudo refers include carefully staged displays of normality by figures such as Blair and Bill Clinton. The bland sight of the 2010 Cameron-Clegg identikit double act was perhaps the UK’s final sighting of this type of leadership. By contrast, in an age of limitless bandwidth and ubiquitous data capture, the ...

High Taxes, Bad Times

John Pemble: Late Georgian Westminster, 10 June 2010

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1820-32 
by D.R. Fisher.
Cambridge, 6336 pp., £490, December 2009, 978 0 521 19314 6
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... to have been a lot more unfortunates than miscreants. Times were changing. The Pains and Penalties Bill of 1820, which entailed a ‘trial’ of Queen Caroline on charges of adultery, was the last big outing of royal sleaze for several generations, and after her death the following year Caroline slumped in popular estimation from persecuted sweetheart to ...

After the Referendum

LRB Contributors, 8 October 2014

... was already falling apart, surprise surprise, the ‘vow’ that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg had all signed and presented to the Scottish people on the front page of the Daily Record, where it was mocked up to look like ancient parchment. They didn’t even have the grace to wait till Monday. On Saturday night, neighbours down the road lit a ...

Justice eBay Style

Frederick Wilmot-Smith, 26 September 2019

... in principle. Before the general election of April 2017 stopped the Prisons and Courts Bill in its tracks, for example, the plan was to give individuals the option to plead guilty to crimes over the internet. Let’s not pretend there isn’t a difference between the click of a button and a statement made in a public court. The question isn’t ...

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